Zimbabwe’s overall crop output surge due to good rains

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  • Area planted for tobacco increased by 7%
  • National cattle numbers increased to 5.5 million

Harare- Zimbabwe’s first round of crop and livestock assessment has shown a 23% increase in crops planted during the summer of 2020, on the back of good rains experienced in the first quarter of the season, with maize accounting for 55% of the total increase.

However, there was a drop in the area planted for finger millet and rice as farmers shifted focus towards the production of high-yielding crops such as maize and sorghum, in view of an anticipated good rainfall season.

“Hence, the overall cereal output for the 2020/21 agriculture season is expected to be higher compared to the previous farming season, and the surge is expected to reduce pressure on grain imports” a Q121 Treasury report shows

Meanwhile, the area planted for tobacco increased by 7% to 125 177 hectares compared to 117 049 hectares planted in the prior comparable season, reflecting positive expectations in tobacco prices and good rains.

As it stands average tobacco prices range at around US$2.70 against US$2.50 of the previous season, the increase in prices is justified by the quality of the grades harvested this season which were aided by the good rains experienced this year.

On the animal rearing sector, the national cattle numbers increased from 5.4 million in 2020 to 5.5 million this year, similarly, sheep numbers are expected to increase from 547 696 in 2020 to 697 910 in 2021, with goats increasing from 3.9 million to 4 million in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

“The good 2020/21 rainfall season improved grazing and water conditions throughout the country thus boosting the beef quality” reads the treasury report.

Dipping also improved during the period under review as Government intervened by availing tick grease to farmers for free. Meanwhile, first-quarter slaughters at 62 929 constitute a 16% increase from the 2020 first-quarter levels of 54 113 slaughters. However, in comparison to the Q420, formal slaughters decreased by 10% from 69 798.

In the dairy sector, milk production for Q121 dropped from both the previous year’s Q1 and Q4 production of 19.2 million litres and 19.6 million litres, respectively, to 17.8 million litres.

This drop-in milk production is partly attributed to the challenges of high costs of vaccines and other costs of production. This was compounded by the shortage of good quality breeding cows and heifers on the market.

Equity Axis News

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